Personalised learning embraces the elements of mutual ownership by learners and teachers, flexible content, tools and learning environments, targeted support, and data-driven reflection and decision making. Students today expect a flexible and personalised study process, blended ways of learning, and a wide variety of assessment methods and tools.
Many current traditional educational landscapes give a one-size-fits-all feel, where each student’s education is not differentiated and all are expected to progress at the same time through the same courses. Personalisation, on the other hand, pushes educators to think outside the box by emphasising the need for learners to be involved in designing their own learning process. Hence, in a personalised learning environment, learners have the agency to set their own goals for learning, create a reflective process to attain those goals, and be flexible enough to take their learning outside the confines of the traditional classroom.
Personalised learning is, therefore, a progressive learner-driven model, through which students and teachers engage actively, deeply, and reflectively in rigorous challenges and meaningful authentic tasks to demonstrate desired outcomes. The concept embraces four core elements:
- Collaborative dialogue, co‐construction, personal reflection, and mutual ownership by learners and teachers;
- Flexible content, tools, and learning environments to facilitate learners’ interests and needs and teacher‐learner collaboration;
- Targeted support in response to learner interests and needs, through learning communities and communities of reflective practice.; and
- Data-driven reflection decision‐making and continuous improvement, drawing on self‐evaluation and feedback to inform the next steps in learning and teaching.
The INTERPEARL model envisages personalised learning as an interactive learner and teacher journey involving four core dimensions: Person, Environment, Process, and Practice (see Figure 4).
Figure 4. Model of Personalised Teacher Education (INTERPEARL team, 2020).
Watch the video below on Personalised Learning to get further insight [Watchtime: 2.28 mins]
While personalisation focuses on the student’s agency in designing their own learning path depending on their interests and style, differentiation’s focus is on the teacher adapting their lessons to different types of learning and accounting for the various students in the room. Differentiated instruction strategies and assessment (also known as differentiated learning or, in education, simply, differentiation) is a framework or philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing different students with different avenues (often in the same classroom) to acquiring content; processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and to developing teaching materials and assessment measures so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in ability. Students vary in culture, socioeconomic status, language, gender, motivation, ability/disability, personal interests, and more, and teachers need to be aware of these varieties as they are planning their curriculum. By considering varied learning needs, teachers can develop personalised instruction so that all children in the classroom can learn effectively. Differentiated learning classrooms have also been described as ones that are responsive to student variety in readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles. It is a classroom where all students are included and can be successful. To do this a teacher sets different expectations for task completion for students based on their individual needs.
The video below further highlights differentiation [Watchtime: 15.20 mins]
by Marilou Areno Teachers Best Friend
Adaptive learning platforms can be identified as “Educational technologies that can respond to a student’s interaction in real-time by automatically providing the student with individual support”. Class size is compounded in today’s classrooms, which are filled with diverse learners with a multitude of needs along with unique strengths and weaknesses. The complexity and range of student needs can result in an overworked teacher who gives teaching their best effort and still finds that some students fail to meet an acceptable level of concept mastery. Simply put, there are not enough teachers to meet the multitude of students’ needs so that every single student can succeed in every single classroom. In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has begun to take ever-stronger roots in education, giving rise to Adaptive Learning Systems (ALS).
This method of interaction is much different from using a standard textbook or even online courses set up through a typical learning management system (LMS). The adaptive technologies will identify gaps in students’ knowledge, adjust accordingly and determine the next steps that students can take to “fill” the gap.
Edsurge and Pearson in their “Decoding adaptive report” have cited that there are three ways that platforms can adapt:
- Adaptive content: When a student makes a mistake the platform will offer feedback and hints based on the misunderstanding. It can also provide resources for students to utilize to increase their knowledge in the area of struggle.
- Adaptive assessment: This type of adaptation will change the questions based on how a student answered the previous one. If they struggled the next question may be easier or if they were successful the difficulty of the questions will increase.
- Adaptive sequence: This platform utilises AI to collect and continually analyse student responses to change the progression each student sees. Each student will have a personalised learning path.
The video below throws light on adaptive learning[Watchtime: 2.24 mins]
by Tecnológico de Monterrey | Innovación Educativa
By prioritising the requirements of individual students, personalised learning means giving them the freedom to acquire information and learn at their own pace. The right tech tools can help students assess and monitor their progress, supporting self-directed learning. The learning paradigm is compatible with the idea that the best thing we can do for our students is to teach them “how to learn” in a world that is always changing and demands creative thinking, using the most suitable activities to enhance learning.